DENVER — The Giants have lost 14 of their past 18 games, and there was nothing new to be gleaned from what happened at Coors Field on Saturday. It was a familiar feeling, so let’s take a short trip to Scottsdale and start with some good news.
Madison Bumgarner threw about 40 pitches in a simulated game at the club’s facility there, and he came out of it feeling fine. Bruce Bochy did not have many details, but he said Bumgarner would likely repeat the drill in a couple of days, and then probably throw a third simulated game before being cleared for a rehab assignment.
The Giants have been pretty tight-lipped about Bumgarner’s rehab schedule, and the pitcher himself has only given two extensive interviews since crashing a dirt bike here on April 20. But it does seem that Bumgarner has been slightly ahead of schedule at every checkpoint — he was supposed to throw 30 pitches Saturday — and he does have the look of a man who will try to return in July, not early August as planned.
Whenever Bumgarner returns, he will be boarding a sinking ship. The Giants fell 5-1 on a windy, muggy day at Coors Field, making the kind of mistakes that have become so normal in this season that could end with 100 losses. Two-strike pitches across the plate. Bloops that drop in the outfield. Defensive miscommunication. Poor at-bats with runners on base. This one had it all.
The biggest moment came in the sixth, when Bud Black forced Bochy’s hand. He intentionally walked Gorkys Hernandez with two outs and a runner on second, and Bochy had a quick conversation with Matt Cain.
“I knew I was getting close (to the end),” said Cain. “He asked me and I told him the truth.”
Bochy sent Brandon Belt up to hit for Cain, who was charged with two runs in five innings in his best road start in two months. Belt struck out, extending his slump to 18 hitless at-bats.
“I’m sure the pitch he would like to have back is the check-swing on 2-0. It was (going to be) 3-0 and maybe he gets a walk,” Bochy said. “He ended up striking out. That is a big swing.”
The Giants have now dropped eight straight to the Rockies, the leaders of the National League West. It is Colorado’s longest ever winning streak against an NL West opponent. Ty Blach — a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner already in this series — will try and prevent the sweep, but no matter what, the Giants will not come out of here with good vibes.
They’re 18 games under .500. At this point, the only question is how many of the current Giants will be shipped out before Bumgarner returns.